Grace K. Harkins Endowed Scholarship
Grace K. Harkins was born December 29, 1929. She began working when she was 14 while paying rent to her parents who had ten children. She was the only sibling in her large family to attain a college degree. As a child, Grace read in the closet to get privacy. Grace married Harry “Mike” Harkins and had three children. She believed in them and encouraged all of them to attain education degrees. Grace was in her late 30s and the mother of three teenagers when she attained a double major in elementary and special education in three years, graduating with high honors. A few years later while teaching primary grades for the Billings Public School System, she achieved a Masters in Elementary Education and a Masters in Elementary School Administration with high honors. A primary teacher, Grace believed strongly that reading should be taught most of the academic day and that early reading mastery would strengthen children’s confidence and thus their ability and desire to learn throughout their lives. She loved her job and working with children. She made many friends while teaching. Grace was married for 60 years when she passed away June 1, 2008. She graced us all with her love, care, kindness, and knowledge that she shared with so many. She was an incredible wife, mother, and grandmother. The first scholarship was awarded in academic year 1990-1991.